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Nigel Wright won’t face criminal charges; Duffy, Wallin still under investigation

Nigel Wright appears as a witness at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 2, 2010.
Nigel Wright appears as a witness at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 2, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Nigel Wright is no longer being investigated by the RCMP and no criminal charges will be laid against him in relation to the ongoing Senate expense scandal, according to police.

“Upon completion of the investigation, we have concluded that the evidence gathered does not support criminal charges against Mr. Wright,” an RCMP spokeswoman said in an email.

Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, resigned after it was revealed he wrote a $90,000 cheque to cover Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses.

Last June, the RCMP launched an investigation into Wright for frauds on the government and breach of trust.

In a statement, a spokeswoman said Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson is now reviewing the matter.

“Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has received confirmation from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that the force is no longer investigating Mr. Nigel Wright and that criminal charges will not be laid against him,” Margot Booth wrote in an email.

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“She is reviewing the matter and will not comment further at this time.”

Wright released a statement through his lawyer.

“My intention was to secure the repayment of taxpayer funds. I believed that my actions were always in the public interest and lawful,” he said.

“The outcome of the RCMP’s detailed and thorough investigation has now upheld my position.”

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said, “We are pleased the RCMP has made progress in their work.”

“The Prime Minister’s Office will continue offering every possible assistance to the RCMP’s investigation.”

RCMP still investigating Duffy, Wallin

The question remains whether Duffy and Senator Pamela Wallin will face charges.

Duffy has long maintained that he agreed to pay back his expenses, and insists he broke no rules.

“After consulting my legal team; I have concluded that it would be inappropriate for me to comment while these matters are under study by the RCMP,” Duffy said in a statement early Wednesday.

The Mounties also continue to investigate allegedly fraudulent travel expenses claimed by Wallin, who was drummed out of the Conservative caucus along with Duffy.

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READ MORE: RCMP formally charge Brazeau, Harb with fraud, breach of trust over Senate expenses

In February, the RCMP formally charged suspended Sen. Patrick Brazeau and retired senator Mac Harb with one count each of breach of trust and fraud over their spending of taxpayers’ dollars.

 – with a file from The Canadian Press